Suddenly the lights came on. Bright, too bright, I was blinded! I brought up my hands, with Muse still in them, to cover my face.
My cat tried to wiggle from my grasp, “Mistress…. pleases….”
“What’s happening?! Is the sun crushing? Is there an angel? Are demons of the fiery lava finally revolting and coming from the center of the earth to burn us with their molten wrath?” I cried into my VERY un-amused muse.
“Will you stop your blubbering! The lights came on is all,” he leaned closer to me and hissed, “now will you pleassse let me go? I promise I won’t go cause more trouble right now. You’ve already caused enough trouble to keep me entertained.”
This got my attention.
“Wha… What do you mean?” I asked, slowing loosening my hands and removing them from my eyes.
As my eyes blinked open, the first thing I saw was Muse’s smug grin. Not a pleasant sight. When my eyes adjust further, I saw the cabinet laying across my stomach and legs, and the bottles of paint that had fallen from the cabinet – some intact, some shattered broken. Above that I could see a ceiling. I wasn’t sure if the fall and the lights had done something to my eyes, but the ceiling seemed be sloping, then at one edge of the room, to be curved away into some hidden place. My eyes then dropped to art easels stocked with brushes and towels.
“Huh, I would have never have guessed Mr. Jenkins was an artist!”
“He seems to have a rather strange way to go about it,” said Muse, who had settled himself and was sitting on my chest, “I mean, what painter has a cooler full of raw meat and one of fresh fruit? I could see the fruit being a snack he keeps around. But the raw hunks of flesh?!
“Maybe he has strange eating habits?” I suggested.
Muse crinkled his nose, “But what about the cages and chains?”
Muse pointed with his tail to a corner of the room where what looked like medieval instruments of torture were stored.
“Uh…. exercise?” I said, hopefully.
“And what about that drain in the middle of the floor? Coupled with that hose over there… looks like it could do some heavy-duty washing on the floors. You really think with that kind of setup the only red thing he needs to be cleaning up is paint?
“And this!” Muse plucked something up from a cup of paint brushes, “how do you explain this!?”
At this I rolled my eyes, “Ok, that’s just a palette knife. C’mon now.”
“Oh,” Muse looked at it, then flicked it away with a shrug. The palette knife skidded across the floor, picking up leaked paint from one pile and falling into another.
“Still,” continued my cat, “doesn’t explain the rest of it.”
A frown dug itself into the corners of my mouth, “You don’t really think…. sweet, old Mr. Jenkins could really be evil, do you?”
“Eh, being a serial killer would explain the cages, blood-drain, and why he skipped last decade’s meetup,” Muse stretched back and yawn, turned in a circle, kneaded my shirt with his front paws, and curled up on my chest, “But you’re right, it’s probably all just coincidence,” and he fell asleep.
“Muse? Muse! Now is not the time to fall asleep you stupid cat!”
He didn’t move.
With something between a sigh and a groan, I let my head fall back onto the tiled floor – which just added another bump to my head. The only movement I had left to me were my arms and head, the cabinet was too heavy to move by myself, and there was a cat sleeping on me. I was stuck.
Join just next week for another part to this thrilling adventure!